Offshore World Championship Fishing Tournament Set for April 18-21, 2016 in Quepos
Without a doubt, the sportfishing off the Costa Rican Central Pacific coast is one of the best in the world. Consequently, for the 4th year in a row, the Offshore World Championships will be held out of Marina Pez Vela in Quepos.
The marina has reinvented itself with new construction, shops, and restaurants and is a must see for any visitor to the Manuel Antonio area.
First and foremost, the marina is pure heaven for anyone interested in offshore fishing especially the exciting world of billfishing. The four major categories of billfish are marlin, sailfish, swordfish, and spearfish although 12 different species are included in the 4 categories. These monster fish are released after the catch in tournaments so the marine population is not affected. The Offshore World Championship (OWC) is the culmination of the sport’s many qualifying tournaments held around the world each year. Only the winners of these 75 odd tournaments and former world champions are invited to participate in the OWC and the resulting release numbers are staggering.
Last year the 67 teams from 28 countries released a world record 2,492 billfish during the 4-day tournament. To get an insight into the phenomenal offshore fishing in the area, we interviewed Sarah Munro, a local avid offshore amateur angler who writes a monthly column on the sport, That’s Fishin’, for a local magazine, Quepolandia:
Q: How did the OWC come to be held in Quepos?
Sarah: For many years the tournament was held in Cabo San Lucas and was owned by the International Game Fish Association, our sport’s official governing body and record-keeper. They sold the tournament 4 years ago to the Bonnier Corporation, the 10th largest publishing company in the US, who owns brands like Field and Stream, Popular Science, and Outdoor World and publishes almost 40 different sporting magazines. They moved the tournament to Quepos to take advantage of our unmatched billfish population. The move has been a tremendous success resulting in world records being set every year in several categories.
Q: So why is the offshore fishing here so much better than other venues?
Sarah: I’d like to think it’s the quality of the captains, their crews and the anglers (said with a wry smile) but mother nature has been good to us. Factors such as favorable ocean currents, the underwater topography, and of course the tremendous amount of bait prevalent off our shores make these waters the “bite capital of the world”.
Q: Is there anything else unique about the OWC being held in Quepos?
Sarah: I think the idea of Costa Rica being so biologically diverse on both land and sea helps the image of the tournament and gives our area a lot of great visibility to people around the world. We aren’t just an area for tourists to come and party. They can see things here they won’t find anywhere else. Amateur anglers can come here knowing we have talented captains and crews and although there are no guarantees, they have a better chance of landing the “big one” here than anywhere else.
Q: Any final thoughts?
Sarah: In the end, the OWC is a “bragging rights” tournament since there is no prize money awarded. Many of the teams are very familiar with each other and the entire week they are here they socialize and enjoy all the many activities Quepos/Manuel Antonio has to offer with their families. But when they get on the boat, it’s all business and the chance to become world champion focuses them on the task at hand. The teamwork required to catch these beautiful creatures and record on video each catch is so impressive. And lastly, the team everyone wants to beat is one of our local teams out of Marina Pez Vela, Tranquilo, who just won a tournament in El Salvador and over $3,000,000 in cash! Just to be clear, points are awarded for other gamefish such as dorado (also known as mahi-mahi) but the big points are for the billfish releases. Sportfishing fans can hang out at the marina during fishing hours each of the 4 days and keep up with the release count as it is posted. Many events are available to the public during the tournament at night where the talk in this tournament is rarely about the “one that got away” but rather the incredible amount of catch and releases made by each team.
If you would like more information about the OWC, go to www.offshoreworldchampionship.com or www.marinapezvela.com. If you would like to schedule an offshore fishing adventure and a vacation in the paradise of Quepos/Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, you can contact us here.